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J Biol Chem. 1986 Mar 15;261(8):3732-6.

Purification and crystallization of creatine kinase from rabbit skeletal muscle.


Crystallization is the primary rate-limiting step in protein structure determination. It has been our experience over approximately 10 years that crystals are obtained in about 20% of the proteins attempted and that only about 10% of these crystals are sufficiently well ordered to permit atomic resolution structure analysis. In attempts to overcome this limitation, we have investigated the effect on crystallization of microheterogeneity in a protein regarded as pure by conventional criteria. Creatine kinase was purified from rabbit skeletal muscle and crystallized from methylpentanediol. The protein appeared to be nearly pure judging by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and high specific activity. The crystals that were obtained were of poor quality, and an extensive survey of precipitants, crystallization conditions, and additives failed to discover conditions from which usable crystals could be obtained. The enzyme was then subjected to a series of further purification steps. After each purification step, the quality of the crystals obtained under almost identical conditions improved. The final purification step was flat-bed isoelectric focusing. Crystals grown from focused creatine kinase are well ordered and diffract to approximately 3-A resolution.

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